Wondering how to set up affiliate marketing for your fitness business? We’ll show you how to do it in 10 easy steps.
Promote fitness equipment and get paid.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? That’s the guiding ethos behind affiliate marketing, which turns you into an pr for industry-leading athletic products—and cuts you in on each sale you drive with your product review. Affiliate marketing isn’t new, but it’s growing quickly. Fitness trainers and gyms with existing audiences are all becoming affiliates to… well, make more money. We’re just being honest—and trust when we say that you can do this too.
At Trainerize, we specialize in helping fitness businesses scale up, and we’ve learned a thing or two about starting an affiliate marketing business. You deserve ALL the knowledge, and we’ve got a guide ready that’ll take you from 0 to way more than 100. Here, we’ll start with an overview of affiliate marketing before exploring how it can benefit your fitness business, and how you can start affiliate marketing in just 9 steps. So, let’s dive in.
What is affiliate marketing?
When you’re an affiliate, you’re signed up with a program that helps you promote other companies’ goods and services and earn a commission off the sales you drive. Typically, you’ll slide an affiliate link to items you’re promoting into your website or content shared on social media, so it’s clear but not ham-fisted. This type of marketing empowers fitness trainers and gym owners to monetize their expertise, build partnerships, and create more diverse revenue streams.
This’s a win-win for companies, too. Brands selling fitness equipment, dietary supplements and other products that appeal to gym goers and fitness fanatics are always looking for ways to reach new customers. And chances are, their ideal customer is the same person you’re seeing in the gym each week. By teaming up, you and the brands you’re an affiliate for can help each other reach a wider audience, increase sales and make more money—which is important. (We’ve all gotta eat, even during a cut.)
View this post on Instagram
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing for trainers?
Becoming an affiliate legitimizes your expertise as a personal trainer—since if brands want you promoting their products, you must be good. And of course, you’ll top up your income by earning a commission every time one of your followers clicks on your affiliate links and goes on to buy what you’re promoting.
This makes affiliate marketing ideal for personal trainers who have a strong following on social media, or those who’re in the process of building one. Audience-building isn’t a piece of cake, but if you’ve got personality, unique insights and extensive fitness knowledge (ideally, all three!), you’ll have no trouble creating community.
That’s when that two-way relationship really comes into play: your audience strengthens your affiliate revenues, and your affiliate partnerships help solidify you as a big name worth watching—or training with. We love that for you.
🔗 Kick off your online training business!
FREE GUIDE: Get 30 Clients in 30 Days
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing for gym owners?
Affiliate marketing allows gym owners to outsource some of their marketing to trainers or organizations with their own fitness audiences. You’ll leverage their existing audience without having to pay for advertising, and get promoted by a source those people already trust.
So rather than throwing money at traditional promotional techniques that you hope will grab your audience, you’ll pay commission on sales generated through affiliate links. This strategic marketing strategy is typically far more cost-effective than a big media blitz, especially if you’re a smaller organization. Affiliate commissions are a beautiful thing: you only pay when you make money.
Plus, the more affiliates you partner with, the more you can boost your gym’s presence and drive sales of new memberships. And affiliate you sign on serves as a signal to other affiliates that you’re open for partnerships, too. This means you’ll be able to attract new affiliates, scale up your referral program, and boost your revenue without jumping through too too many hoops—which is the goal.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Affiliate marketing involves external affiliates sending their audience to product pages via trackable links. Affiliate marketing links contain tracking codes, and pick up who’s sending their audience out to other companies’ product pages. When viewers click the link and become paying customers, companies know who drove the sale—and can pay them for it.
You can’t just slap an affiliate label on anything. If you’re showing your audience how to do push ups, don’t try to sell them cat food. Instead, you’ll present the affiliate product or service as the solution to an issue you’re addressing in whatever piece of content they’re viewing.
For example, people working from home might find that fitness has lapsed—since they stopped hitting the gym at lunchtime with their colleagues. So they look up “how to stay fit at home,” and stumble across a video you’ve created that addresses that problem. You just happen to slide a link to a fitness app into the description, and boom, you’re on your way to your first sale.
It’s a win-win strategy for brands and affiliates alike. If athletes genuinely like your fitness equipment, why wouldn’t you want to incentivize them to share it? And if you love a product or service so much you want to promote it, why shouldn’t you get paid for your efforts? The point is simple: the business goals are mutual, and there’s room for everyone to win.
View this post on Instagram
How to Set Up Affiliate Marketing in 10 Easy Steps
Follow these step-by-step instructions to set up affiliate marketing for your business:
Know your niche
The first (and most important) thing to do when setting up affiliate marketing is to make sure you know your audiences like the back of your hand. Who’s in your audience, and what do they all have in common? And which types of products or services appeal to them? It’s essential that you know the answers to these questions before setting up affiliate marketing, so you’re focusing on promoting products people actually want.
Choose a platform
Next, choose the platform you’re going to use. You’ll want one that is easy to use. Keep an eye out for platforms with simple management features and reporting tools that are easy to navigate, ‘cause you don’t want an extra headache on your hands. Some of the most popular affiliate market programs for fitness leaders include Shareasale, Amazon Affiliates, and Fanfuel.
Here’s a few of our favorite affiliate brands:
- Reebok (7% commission rate)
- Bowflex (3% commission rate)
- Amazon Associates (3% commission rate)
- Wahoo (variable commission rate, up to 10%)
- Evolve Fit Wear (variable commission rate, up to 10%)
The percentage rate of commission isn’t the only thing to consider when making your decision, though. You must make sure the products you’re promoting are consistent with your brand, and you should note the average sale price on each program. For example, the average price of an item sold for Reebok is $80, but for Bowflex it can be as high as $2000. Would you rather have 7% of $80 or 3% of $2000? (That’s $5.60 versus $60.00.)
Looking for a deeper dive into the platforms that are out there? We’ve already built a guide to the best affiliate marketing programs for personal trainers, so we’re one step ahead of you here.
Pick products you genuinely believe in
Your personal rep is at stake each time you make a recommendation, so only endorse products or services you’ve used and thoroughly tested. Don’t rely on the opinions of others or the promises made by manufacturers, and treat your audience like friends. Just explain why you’re recommending what you’re recommending, run through the benefits quickly, and share how it’s helped you. If your enthusiasm is true, it’ll shine right through.
Create your affiliate links and cloak them
Next, you’ll generate custom affiliate links within the platform you choose—and use a URL-shortener to cloak them. Why cloak links, you might ask? Short, branded links are far more effective than 50-character messes of long, rambling text. URL shortening and link cloaking tools such as Bitly, Pretty Links, and ThirstyAffiliates make it easy to customize your affiliate links, track click-through rates, and monitor your campaign efficiently.
Plus, natural-looking links attract more engagements from viewers. Everyone is bombarded with ads on the internet, and if you look too salesy, viewers’ guards will go up. Integrate your links in a way that appeals to your readers, and they’re far more likely to trust them, follow them, then come back for more.
Create content, and slip in affiliate links
Affiliate links need to be placed within high-quality content to actually drive affiliate sales. You might be inserting affiliate links into a training video, a blog post about nutrition, or a newsletter sent out to your email list, but no matter what—the context is everything.
One way to ensure you’re delivering clear value to your audience in each piece of content is to focus on a problem. “Hi, here’s our weekly check-in video” is aimless, but “10 ways to get rippling abs” is laser-focused. Then, include an affiliate link to a product that helps solve the problem you’ve been talking about. That is how it’s done.
View this post on Instagram
Leverage your existing audience, wherever it exists
If you’ve already got a social media following or a successful newsletter, use it to make your affiliate marketing efforts really count. Promote your affiliate links through your social media, website, blog, and any other audience touchpoints. There’s no room for shame in commerce, so if a product in your affiliate network is relevant, make it visible.
When you’re using social media, encourage your followers to engage with your posts. Ask people to share the link or to comment on your post—or better yet, invite them to join a conversation. Asking questions like “What’s your biggest barrier to staying fit as a parent?” will get people engaging with your posts, and give you ideas for products or services to look out for. You’ll solve problems, and discover great products like the Dad Bod Enhancer 5000 to promote. (Okay, maybe that one doesn’t actually exist.)
View this post on Instagram
Analyze your affiliate marketing performance
Tracking and analyzing your affiliate marketing performance is the only way to learn how affiliate marketing works. Most affiliate platforms include tracking tools that allow you to look at different aspects of your promotional campaigns to see what worked and what didn’t. Drill down into the data to identify successful campaigns and trends, and areas where you can improve. Like, maybe your audience really loves the Dad Bod Enhancer 5000. Jokes aside, analytics tracking is the way to make data-driven decisions about your affiliate marketing strategy—and that’s crucial.
Optimize your affiliate marketing strategy
Take the insights you gleaned from your analytics and use them to optimize your affiliate marketing strategy. Try out different promotional tactics, create new content formats, affiliate link placements, and CTAs to find out what works best for your audience. Adjust things based on any insights your analysis throws up. And if one platform’s not working for you, don’t be afraid to try another one out—faithfulness isn’t mandatory.
And when you’re experimenting, remember this: so long as you’re not offensive, nobody’s going to hold a bad post against you. Fluffy, harmless marketing experiments get lost in the ether and go completely unnoticed. So try something out, and play around with your strategy! That’s how you’ll find your path to growth.
Deepen your relationships with merchants and affiliates
Successful businesses are built on strong relationships, so reach out to the brands and merchants leading affiliate programs. When you’re always on the lookout for collaboration opportunities, you’ll be the first to know about new offerings or exclusive deals they’re promoting. (That’s win-win, ‘cause they always want to know about engaged affiliates.)
On the flipside, stay connected with other fitness affiliates to share insights and offer support. Often, these’ll be trainers and gym owners you already know and work with—’cause affiliate marketing isn’t a niche strategy. Chat between sets or training sessions, and ask them what’s been working for them. Share your strategies, too, ‘cause there’s no value in being a gatekeeper. Everyone can win.
Why does affiliate marketing work?
Affiliate marketing ultimately works because it’s mutually beneficial. You enhance your brand while developing relationships with other authorities in your niche, and they make money too. Promoting high-quality products and services via affiliate marketing shows your audience you’ve got good taste—and if people like what you refer them to, they’ll deepen their trust with you.
Affiliate marketing is also ultra-trackable. Monitoring the performance of your affiliate links makes it easy to spot trends, predict your growth, and learn your customers’ pain points inside out. That information will help you shape your future affiliate campaigns and make sure they pay off.
Like we’ve discussed, there are plenty of tools out there that make it easy to set up and manage affiliate marketing, so starting an affiliate marketing business doesn’t have to be a slog. Fairly quickly, it can become a source of passive income, especially if you’re monetizing an existing following you’ve been building online. From there, you’re off to the races!
So, what’s next?
Now that you know the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, you’re probably ready to get started. And luckily, Trainerize makes it easy for existing customers, agencies, and influencers to earn a commission from everyone you sign up. That’s right—when you sign someone up for Trainerize, you’ll earn affiliate commissions every month.
We talked about this earlier, but it’s also smart to promote what you’re already using. Our super-simple app makes it easy to deliver world-class fitness services and manage your client roster from one dashboard. So come transform your fitness business, and get ready to scale up your affiliate marketing income while you’re at it.